Bailiff of Jersey's Liberation Day speech

William Bailhache, Bailiff of Jersey

Below are some extracts from the Bailiff of Jersey's Liberation speech that he delivered today in Liberation Square.

Those who were here on 9th May 1945, if they are old enough, will remember people smiling and laughing, perhaps for the first time in years, and a huge sense of relief, of joy and of optimism.

It is important to recognise that when times are hard people can act both heroically or less than heroically, and sometimes the elements of a person’s character or their circumstances are mixed up only slightly differently to produce one outcome or the other.

If we recognise that, it is possible to reconcile ourselves to each other, whether those points of difference arose in 1940 or at any time thereafter.

– William Bailhache, Bailiff of Jersey

It is sometimes said that Liberation day belongs to those who were here in Jersey on 9th May 1945.

I think it belongs to others too - the day is important not only for those who suffered the Occupation here as children, but also for the families of those who evacuated, whether for safety or to join His Majesty’s Forces in defence of the realm and were unable to return to their homes and families for five years; and to those who were deported.

– William Bailhache, Bailiff of Jersey

One has only to look at the faces of those in the Royal Square on 8th May 1945, shown on the back of today’s programme.

They show anxiety and disappointment, expressions in which desperation for freedom is mixed with worry that there may yet be a pitched battle between German and British forces with destruction and civilian casualties.

The smiles on the front cover in the days immediately following 9th May show a different picture.

They demonstrate that 9th May is indeed a life-enhancing day.

It is against that background that I wish you all a very happy and rewarding 70th anniversary of liberation.

– William Bailhache, Bailiff of Jersey